Monday, December 26, 2016

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou 25 June 1963 - 25 December 2016

George Michael
Prior to yesterday, music already lost this year:
January 10, David Bowie

January 18, Glenn Frey

April 6, Merle Haggard

April 21, Prince Edward Rogers

November 7, Leonard Cohen
(see November 13 blog entry).

Then we sadly hear on Christmas Day, George Michael.

For me, it wasn't until he began his solo career away from Wham! I found his music with a bit more of a soulful edge.

My favorites were with his duets with 2 R&B/soul legends.

Aretha Franklin, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", 1987.

And, Mary J. Blige, performing Stevie Wonder's "As", 1999.

Really hard not to listen without a head sway, toe taps, or finger snaps. Which I'm certain is how George would have wanted it.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 California State Seniors Bowling Tournament

UPDATE - December 21, 2016. Final results came in today. Steve and I finished 13th, Doubles Class C. We split $168.

Last month, my Sunday practice/Wednesday night teammate Steve and I bowled singles and doubles in our first senior state tournament at Steve Cook's Fireside Lanes in Rocklin (greater Sacramento).

All squads have completed bowling but results are not yet final. Steve and I are currently in 13th place, thanks to Steve's 658 scratch series. It was nice to know that after we bowled, teammates asked if I'd bowl next year's tournament in Modesto.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 PBA World Series of Bowling VIII - ESPN3 Live Streaming

source: PBA
EJ Tackett
Congratulations to E.J.Tackett for winning this year's PBA World Championship. A remarkable feat as this was E.J.'s second straight year in the finals match. He lost to Gary Faulkner Jr. in 2015.

Previous winners Tom Smallwood (2009) and my fave Dom Barrett (2013) finished 2nd and 3rd. Jason Belmonte finished 4th and Anthony Simonsen 5th.

Today's match aired live on ESPN. Yesterday, the other 5 tournaments that make up the World Series took place.

Oil pattern names:
Chameleon, Cheetah, Scorpion, Shark, and Viper.
I spent most of the day watching them all live. But not on television. On my laptop.

How? On ESPN3, ESPN's online streaming service (cable/satellite subscription required). Yeah, the same service that makes available college football and basketball games you can't get on television.

As written in my February 7, 2016 posting:
There will always be complainers that want matches to air live on a broadcast network like ABC (as it did 50+ years ago) or CBS (instead of CBS Sports Network)

I'll put it gently. The 20th century ended 15 years ago. There are too many other sports venues with larger markets where bowling cannot compete. Not going to happen.

It may not have happened on TV, but for me, live on ESPN3 is a terrific 21st century solution.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

San Francisco 49ers - 11th consecutive loss

The York Family with Eddie DeBartolo (3rd from left)
It's been a terrible news week. On Friday, another former high school classmate, Danny, passed away. Yesterday, it was the Oakland Ghost Ship Warehouse fire. Today, it was the passing of another longtime Monday night league bowler, Jack.

And to add salt to the wound, the 49ers lost their 11th consecutive game versus the Chicago Bears, who were 2-9 going into today's game.

I have been critical of the York family's/GM Trent Baalke's ability to manage the team pretty much from the start. It's either been a clash with successful coaches (Steve Mariucci, Jim Harbaugh), or musical chairs with a series of coaches with mediocre or no head coaching experience in the NFL (Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Tomsula and current head coach Chip Kelly).

Dr. and Mrs. York, you owe it to longtime fans. Sell the team to people who know something about football.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016 - Ohio State 30, Michigan 27, 2 OT's


source: Ohio State Buckeyes Football
I've watched lots and lots of Ohio State - Michigan games. Many live up to the rivalry hype: intense, hard fought battles.

Up until yesterday, the most memorable game for me was my sophomore year in 1979. Members of the Ohio State team included:
- defensive backs coach/Marin county native and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
- place kicker Vlade Janakievski, who was 2 years ahead of me at Whitehall-Yearling High School.
- quarterback Art Schlichter, who led the Buckeyes to a 18-15 win in Ann Arbor.

Add 2016 to the list. Down 17-7 in the 3rd quarter and 2 missed field goal attempts, Ohio State is able to tie the game with seconds left in regulation.

Like the 2003 BCS Championship (aka Tostitos Fiesta Bowl) versus Miami (Florida), it took 2 overtimes for the Buckeyes to capture the win, thanks to H-back Curtis Samuel's 2 runs in the last 3 plays of the game.

Courtesy of the Big Ten Network, here it is:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ohio State vs. Michigan 2016

source: CBS Sports
AP Top 25 - week of November 20, 2016
Thanksgiving 2016 is quickly approaching. Short work week, gluttony and big gatherings with friends and family.

Then on Saturday, the long awaited college football showdown of the season: Ohio State versus Michigan.

Ohio State is currently ranked #2, Michigan, #3, something we haven't seen in many years.

Game will be played in Columbus. To get our Buckeye hearts racing and spirits fired up, l close with a video clip of The Ohio State University Marching Band's traditional entrance into Ohio Stadium. GO BUCKS!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Famous Blue Raincoat - The Songs of Leonard Cohen

source: Amazon
Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat
Featuring the songs of Leonard Cohen
Canadian born poet, songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen passed away this week at the age of 82.

His song "Hallelujah" is most recognized with mainstream audiences. Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, k.d. lang, and most recently, NBC's Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon are among a few that have performed the song.

Like Bob Dylan, I find listening to Cohen sing difficult. I'm among those that have to listen to covers from other artists to fully appreciate their lyrics and music.

One notable example: Jennifer Warnes.

Yes, the Jennifer who sang "Time of My Life" with Bill Medley and "Up Where We Belong" with Joe Cocker.

Released in 1986 and making Billboard's 200 in February 1987, "Famous Blue Raincoat" features 9 Leonard Cohen songs (2 co-written). My favorite song from the album is "First We Take Manhattan". Soaring vocals from Ms. Warnes and great guitar riffs from Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Eye Bags, Eyes Bag

PacSafe Citysafe CS 350, 2014
I spent most of yesterday focused on 2 words with 2 vastly different agendas: Eye and Bag.

1. Eye Bags - as in puffiness below my peepers due to allergies, touching or sad media stories, lack of sleep and middle age. I copiously scrutinized the face care aisles at CVS and Target for nearly 2 hours in search of the right relief treatment.

2. Eyes bag - as in search for a new handbag. 
Specifically, a backpack. The PacSafe Citysafe CS 350 I carry lacks the organized compartments needed for even distribution of weight in the pack (bottom heavy). I'd also have to grab the excess material from the top near the zipper in order to open the bag (see photo).

Must haves for all bags: durability, brand cache, carrying ease, AND, something that made me look like I had some fashion sense.

These were my strongest alternatives (so much so they were in my shopping carts):

source: Amazon
Michael Kors Kempton Nylon Tote, size M

Michael Kors Kempton Nyton Tote, size Medium. 

Pros: Nylon material, lightweight, easy to clean. 
Dual exterior pockets

Cons: No water bottle pocket, only 1-2 interior pockets for organization.

source: Amazon
Timbuk2 Commute Messenger, size S

Timbuk2 Commute Messenger Bag, size Small.

Pros: Lots of storage compartments, side water bottle pocket, durability, additional zipped storage within flap.

Cons: Look is too masculine for my tastes, bulky bag size.

source: eBags
Patagonia Mini Messenger

Patagonia Mini Messenger

Pros: Full storage access within flap, side water bottle pocket, durability, size.

Cons: Too casual.

After 10 hours and recharges to my phone and laptop from all the web surfing, I pulled the trigger. Bought the little sister of the PacSafe CS 350 I currently use - the PacSafe CS 300.

source: Amazon
PacSafe Citysafe CS 300

Cost - Amazon offers it for $20 less than most other sites. With Prime, I get free shipping and it arrives in 2 days. I also saved $40 using my American Express Reward Points and Amazon Gift Card.

Convenience - I carry it for everything. Work, weekends, travel, hands free, and makeshift defense weapon if needed. The CS 300 is 1" smaller with a shorter shoulder strap drop and has 2 additional zippered storage pockets my CS 350 doesn't have.

Once I get the bag, I'm fully aware I'll encounter the same issues with the CS 300 as I did with the CS 350. That's OK. I already know what to expect.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Orleans in Vegas - Hawaiian Invitational

2016 Hawaiian Invitational
1st squad scores
After a 2-week absence, I have returned. I missed October 16 due to a 7+ hour storm related power outage in my neighborhood. On October 23, I was in Las Vegas bowling my first Hawaiian Invitational.

The Hawaiian Invitational is an annual bowling tournament held at the Orleans Hotel. This is the same place where Liz Johnson won this summer's PWBA Las Vegas Open.

Like the Asian American Bowling Association (AABA) tournaments I bowl at 4th Street Bowl in San Jose and National Bowling Stadium in Reno, a participating bowler must be of Chinese or Japanese ancestry, or bowl in a Chinese or Japanese league.

In my long gone softball days, the big Asian tournament invitational hard core players attended was Sumitomo in Sacramento. I had informal invitations to come watch, but never got invited to play.

Of the Asian tournaments I bowl, the Hawaiian Invitational has the most participants (all 70 lanes at the Orleans are taken). Roster submissions begin early in the year, and payment (room, optional meal plan and tournament costs) must be paid in April, 6 months before the tournament date in October.

Above is a photo of my team's 1st squad scores. If you've ever bowled in leagues and tournaments, you'll notice scores are 4 games, rather than the usual 3. Overall, we didn't do badly, but total pins with handicap, was at least 500 pins from the top team scores.

For most bowlers, the best perk of the tournament is the doubles jackpot. You can choose anyone bowling the same squad time as a partner. The fee is only $3 per bowler with no limits on partners. Bowl well enough and a $6 team investment can result in over $1K prize money. Not to worry, the usual bracket and side pot bets are available too.

I had loads of fun. I consider these tournaments as reunions. It's great to see people you once bowled with in league or in other tournaments. Between squads, there's plenty of time to hit the casinos and slot machines, catch a movie in the hotel's multiplex cinema, or eat yourself silly at the buffet or any of the hundreds of nearby restaurants.

In the words of T-800 Model 101, "I'll be back."

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Bimmer Bumper Boo Boo

my car's boo boo
blog entry: January 3, 2016

Two Saturdays ago, I was on my way home from bowling practice. As I was about to make a right turn from King Drive to Skyline Boulevard in Daly City, a young woman (about 27) rear ended me. Fortunately, it was only a hard tap. My car didn't shake or jerk on impact.

blog entry: January 3, 2016

She initially offered to pay cash for the damage and asked me not to file insurance as I was the second person she hit.

I said no. Once she accepted that I would contact my insurance company, she said she'd text me her insurance information. True to her word, I got proof of insurance within 2 hours of the accident. I filed the claim over the phone shortly afterwards.

Because of urgent deadlines the following week at work, I wasn't able to get the car to the body shop until Thursday.

I am currently driving a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (same color as the photo below) as my loaner until the body work is completed. The Santa Fe isn't a bad car, but it's not mine. I miss my car's handling and acceleration. Most of all, I miss driving a manual transmission.

I called the body shop yesterday. They sounded pretty certain my car will be ready tomorrow. I certainly hope so.

source: Car Connection
2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Saturday, October 01, 2016

BMW Films - Return of The Driver

source: BMW Films
Clive Owen as The Driver
I bought my first BMW in 1998. I bought my third BMW in 2016 (see January 3, 2016 entry).

My first Clive Owen sighting was a 1999 neo-noir film called "Croupier".

Major crush on Clive. Big love for the BMW.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect match when in 2001, BMW announced a film series called "The Hire". The driver for hire?  The ultra-cool Mr. Owen.

The films did not disappoint. A partial list of actors and directors:
Ray Liotta, Don Cheadle, Gary Oldham, John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie and Wong Kar-Wai. 

This past week, BMW announced a new film to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of "The Hire". Clive Owen reprises his role as The Driver. The film debuts October 23, 2016.

If you haven't seen them, the films are great short stories that highlight why BMW's are ultimate driving machines. I've included 2 of my favorites from the series.

1. "Chosen". Clive's co-star is Ang Lee's son, Mason.

2. Probably the funniest and most popular in The Hire series, "Star".
Guy Ritchie directs his former wife in the title role.
When the camera closes in on The Driver's hand toggling the gearshift in neutral, Madonna's gonna be in for a memorable ride.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PBA Fall Swing - Wolf Open

source: PBA
Tom Daugherty
The 2016 PBA Fall Season debuted last week on CBS Sports Network with the Wolf Open at Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Michigan (greater Detroit area).

Congratulations to Tom Daugherty, who began as the 4th seed and climbed his way up the stepladder finals to defeat top seed Francois Lavoie.

Here's the title match:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Noah Brown's catch - Ohio State vs. Oklahoma

source: 247 sports
Big congratulations to Ohio State's win over Oklahoma 45-24.

Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown had probably the biggest game of his career, scoring 4 touchdowns.

It was the third touchdown Noah made that'll be the talk of college football for the season and many years to come.

See for yourself.

O-H! I-O!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Team Singapore adds another PWBA title for 2016

New Hui Fen
2016 PWBA Tour Championship Winner
An update to July 3, 2016's blog entry on 2 Team Singapore members, Cherie Tan and Bernice Lim winning PWBA titles for the 2016 season.

There are now 3. Congratulations to New Hui Fen on defeating fellow Team Singapore bowler Cherie Tan on capturing this year's PWBA Smithfield Tour Championship.

For a great in-depth read on New from another pro bowling fan, check out Steve's Bowling Blog's September 8, 2016 entry: New Hui Fen: Bowling's Rising Superstar.

New was also awarded PWBA Rookie of the Year.

Here's the title match:

Monday, September 05, 2016

2016 Chinese Japanese Labor Day Tournament

In 2011, I attended my first Chinese Japanese Labor Day Bowling Tournament. Since then, I've gone every year.

This year's trip was one of the more enjoyable trips I've ever had, mostly because it was the first Reno trip for my 2012 BMW 328i.

BMW's are always known for their handling and acceleration, so I knew the drive would be fine. The added plus was the updated technology in the car's onboard computer. I could play my choice of music from my phone in the order I wanted at full blast through the car's speakers.

I also talked a few friends from both leagues into making their first trip up this year. It was fun to hang out with them at breakfast, between squads, and at dinner.

I bowled 4 squads - 2 per day, doubles and team. Total pinfall, 1910. Tournament average was 3 pins above my season average. I'm proudest of the 3 split conversions I made: the 5-10 twice and the 3-7-10.

The tournaments have become the equivalent of attending a family reunion. I'll hear exclamations of "ai-ya" or "ni mo gow chaw" after a bad throw, and "ho yeh" and "ho laeng" after a good throw. It's what I used to hear at family gatherings, especially during mah-jongg games.

Many thanks to Jim Mars and his staff for their hard work. It's the best kind of recreation I could ever want - competitive fun on a holiday weekend.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

No-Tap Bowling

As summer league wraps up, I bowl sweepers tomorrow and head to Reno for the Chinese-Japanese Invitational Tournament for the Labor Day weekend. I bowled no-tap this weekend. When I return from Reno, I'll bowl another no-tap tournament on Labor Day.

No-tap bowling is a casual tournament which usually have league bowlers as participants. It can result in some nice pocket change if you bowl way above your average. Easy concept - hit 9 pins, it's a strike. Not so easy to execute. The oil pattern laid out for no-tap is harder than the standard house shot. I tend to do well in no-tap and have cashed out several times.

Below is my 2nd squad series score from yesterday. Final results aren't yet in but am hopeful I'll cash out again.
Last year, my 695 series score was 127 pins above my highest sanctioned league series.

Here's to big payouts for the next 2 weeks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

CBC Closing Montage - 2016 Rio Summer Olympics - Tragically Hip's Ahead By A Century

Since my last post, it's been Gord and The Hip on my mind all week. What timing. The 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremonies took place within a day of The Hip's final stop in Kingston, Ontario. Found on YouTube the CBC's closing montage of the Olympic Games - set to Ahead By A Century.

Here it is.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tragically Hip Farewell Tour

L to R: Rob Baker, Paul Langlois, Gord Downie, Johnny Fay, Gord Sinclair
As I updated on August 10 from my June 17, 2012 entry, Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (glioblastoma) in May. Their 'Man Machine Poem' summer tour will be their last. The finale took place last night from their hometown in Kingston, Ontario. CBC aired the concert commercial free. Among those who attended was Downie's oncologist, Dr. James Perry, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

I'll close with a couple of fan favorites.

From "Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)",
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter,
Courage, your word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time...
(Written by Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Joseph Paul Langlois, Robert Baker, Robert Gordon Sinclair)

And, their most popular song, "Ahead By A Century" and one of my all-time favorites:
...Or sit silently and listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday casting a golden light
No dress rehearsal, this is our life...

Take a listen to this version from Newcastle Public School in Newcastle, Ontario:
Had me in tears.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Swimming 4 x 100 Medley Relay - US Women and Men - Gold Medal

source: Rebecca Blackwell, AP
L to R: Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Dana Vollmer, Simone Manuel
source: USA Today
L to R: Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian
A big congratulations to the US Men's and Women's Relay Teams for winning the 4 x 100 Medley Relay yesterday in Rio. My handsome fave, Nathan Adrian (see Aug 4, 2012 entry), got his second gold medal in relays (anchoring both teams), having won a gold medal a few days earlier in the 4 x 100 Freestyle.

What was most notable about both relay teams is that ALL of them had earned medals in their individual events.

Team rosters and order of swim:
Backstroke - Kathleen Baker, Ryan Murphy
Breaststroke - Lilly King, Cody Miller
Butterfly - Dana Vollmer, Michael Phelps
Freestyle - Simone Manuel, Nathan Adrian

For the Baltimore superhuman, Michael Phelps, there's nothing that'll compare to his 23 gold medals, 28 total. My only lame claim to his fame is we share the same birthday.

And, Mr. Phelps's heir apparent, Washington DC native Katie Ledecky. Her 4 gold medals were already impressive. What was so eye-popping was shattering 2 world records of humongous margins of 4.77 and 11.38 seconds. She's only 19.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

PWBA US Open Championship / Weber Cup 2016 - Congrats Team Europe

source: PWBA
Liz Johnson, 2016 PWBA US Open Champion

source: Weber Cup
L to R: Jesper Svensson, captain Dom Barrett, Stu Williams, Martin Larsen

Big day of bowling in Addison (Chicago area), Illinois and Manchester, England.

CBS Sports broadcasted live this morning the PWBA US Open Championship Finals.

Kudos to CBS Sports Network for bringing in Dave Lamont for the play-by-play call. He's very articulate and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the game. Unfortunately, we didn't get to hear very much due to poor audio throughout the entire match.

Liz Johnson began as the #4 seed to step up the ladder to capture her 5th US Open title over longtime Team USA member Shannon Pluhowsky.

Special recognition to Singapore's Shayna Ng (2nd seed, 3rd place finish), New Hui Fen (3rd seed, 4th place finish) and Jazreel Tan (10th) for their strong Top 10 finish.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Team Europe for the 4th consecutive year won Weber Cup 19-11 over Team USA. As it was last year, Team Europe was the much stronger, more experienced team.

In my humblest of opinions, if Team USA is going to remain competitive in Weber Cup, they need to reassess the team selection. Maybe even bold enough to include a woman. And for those of you who regularly read this blog, you know I'm talking about Marshall Kent's girlfriend, Danielle McEwan.

Why? She's 24, got tons of international experience and has shown she's bowled well with men in PBA League and tournaments outside the United States. Without pointing fingers, let's just say the frequent flier miles for Team Europe are a lot higher than Team USA's.

Below is one of many Weber Cup matches from this past weekend. Big thanks to The European Bowling Channel for getting the videos so quickly to YouTube.

I'll close with the PWBA US Open semi-final match between Liz Johnson and Shayna Ng. I show this match because it was her third match in the stepladder to get her to the finals. She overcame a foul in the 10th frame and still won.

Thanks again to bowlingvideos4all for your tireless work to get these matches to YouTube as fast as you do.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weber Cup 2016

source: Twitter @WeberCup
L: Parker Bohn III, R: Dom Barrett
On Friday, August 5, Weber Cup 2016 begins a series of bowling matches between Team Europe (host team) versus Team USA. First match is Baker format (each team member bowls 2 or more frames).

For Team Europe, Dom Barrett (captain), Martin Larsen, and Stuart Williams return from 2015. Sweden's Jesper Svensson will be making his Weber Cup debut. Earlier this year, Jesper was the youngest player at age 20 to win the PBA Tournament of Champions (see February 6, 2016 blog entry)

Team USA will have 2 returning members, Parker Bohn III (captain) and Wes Malott. Making their Weber Cup debuts are Marshall Kent and Kyle Troup.
NOTE: To the Weber Cup webmaster, the US states Marshall and Kyle are incorrectly listed. Marshall is from Washington, Kyle is from North Carolina.

I like that new blood has been brought in. Jesper is 21, Marshall is 23 and Kyle is 24. Last year, Team Europe pulverized (17-8, see October 21, 2015 entry) Team USA and I don't see that it'll be any different this year. Team Europe retained 3 of their 4 from 2015, which gives them a considerable advantage in depth and experience. However, I'd never count out Team USA as underdogs, especially with Marshall Kent.

The other notable change to Weber Cup this year is the World Bowling Tour point system. It was first shown on ESPN in February for the World Bowling Tour Championship (see February 21, 2016 entry).

As explained on Weber Cup's website:
World Bowling Scoring maintains the traditional 10-frame scoring format but awards 30 pins for a strike, 10 pins for a spare plus the pin fall of the first shot in the frame, and actual pin fall after two shots in an open frame. The maximum score is still 300 and this figure is based on the player receiving 10 consecutive strikes with no bonus pins being awarded in the 10th frame.

Like the 2-handed delivery, the WBT point system has its detractors. In my opinion, the sport needs to evolve in order to survive. With the PWBA in its second season and the PBA League now considered a success, evolution of the sport is happening whether you like it or not.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Team Colombia - 2 PWBA Titles in 2016

source: PWBA
Clara Guerrero, 2016 PWBA Players Championship

source: PWBA
Rocio Restrepo, 2016 PWBA Greater Detroit Open
The international presence on this year's PWBA tour continues. Last month, it was Singapore's Cherie Tan and Bernice Lim (see July 3, 2016 blog entry). This month, Clara Guerrero and Rocio Restrepo.

From YouTube's, PWBA Go Bowling Players Championship:

And from bowlingvideos4all, here's the PWBA Greater Detroit Open:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain - Sports Documentary

If you're a regular follower of this blog, it's obvious sports takes up a lot of my time.

An itinerary of my last 3 weekends:
  • Birthday night at the Giants - A's game at the Oakland Coliseum. 
  • Drove 89 miles to Modesto in 100 degree heat for a 5-game bowling tournament. 
  • Watched ESPN's 30 for 30's latest feature on "Doc and Darryl", a story about New York Mets teammates Dwight "Doc" Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.

After the Padres swept the Giants and no longer in the mood for a movie repeat, I switched to Amazon Prime video. Scrolled the not-so-great choices for over 15 minutes to look for something decent to watch. Finally, a sports documentary caught my eye: "The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain".

Directed by Matthew Wolfe and narrated by former University of Arkansas men's basketball coach Nolan Richardson, the film examines the promising football career of quarterback Mitch Mustain. His career went completely bust after his first year with the Razorbacks.

For sports fans and Amazon Prime subscribers (statistically almost half of all US households), it's a fascinating look at how difficult it is to pursue a sports career at the elite level. Too many missteps from the "adults" he relied upon for guidance.

As of 2014, Mitch is no longer playing football at any competitive level.

Sneak peek:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Danielle McEwan, 2016 PWBA Wichita Open Champion

Congratulations to Danielle McEwan on winning last week's PWBA Wichita Open, her first PWBA title for 2016.

Here's the championship match (thanks YouTube's

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Team Singapore - 2 PWBA Titles in 2016

Bernice Lim, 2016 USBC Queens Champion
source: PWBA
Cherie Tan, 2016 PWBA Storm Sacramento Open Champion
These women are at it again. For a country with a population of just under 5.5 million (San Francisco Bay Area is over 6 million), they are dominating women's bowling. Two more from the Singapore Women's National Bowling team took 2 PWBA titles this season.

Congratulations Bernice Lim and Cherie Tan.

Here's Bernice in action
Source: YouTube's bosares

And here's lefty Cherie Tan:
Source: YouTube's Mousa Abdullah

Take careful watch of the audience in both matches. Teammates Jazreel Tan  (see June 3, 2013 entry) and Shayna Ng  (see May 20, 2013 entry) can be seen and heard cheering on their teammates.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bowling Weekend Overload

This weekend, I was in maximum overload with bowling. No tournaments, only practice. And lots of it.

Yesterday, I bowled 6 practice games.

Today, it was my usual morning practice of 8 games with Wednesday night friends. When I finished, I grabbed a granola bar from the vending machine and caught up on news on my phone. Then I left Classic Bowl and drove to Bel Mateo for fellow Monday night friend Will's 50th birthday.

Wish I'd done what Will and his wife Jules did. They reserved the entire center for 3 hours. If you didn't want to bowl, you could hang out in one of the party rooms, the bar, or like the fanatic I am, roll in my bag and bowl more games.

But first, some much needed food. Then bowled 6 more games with my Monday night teammate Ronnie. Fun, closely fought battles. Probably the most non-league fun I've had since the late Saturday nights at Classic Bowl with Jeff, Burton, and Lester.

In one of the games, it came down to the last frame. I had been ahead most of the way. Ronnie bowled strikes in the 9th frame and 2 in the 10th. In my last frame, I needed to pick up 2 pins (the 4-7) for the spare to win. I picked up only 1. I lost the game by 1 pin.

I finished the afternoon completing 20 games in 2 days. I bowl 3 more games tomorrow night. Can't wait.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Madison Bumgarner - 2016 Home Run Derby?

source: Deadspin
As I lick my wounds from tonight's Game 7 Golden State Warriors devastating loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I'll focus on another Bay Area positive - The San Francisco Giants. Currently in first place in the National League West, the Giants sweep the weekend series over the Tampa Rays (in Tampa) earlier today.

I have never been comfortable with my teams doing too well too early. Case in point: tonight's Warriors loss. Seasons are long and grinding. How a team plays during the regular season doesn't always extend to post-season. Just ask the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Or the 2014 Washington Nationals.

I'll end with a personal, quiet campaign to permit Madison Bumgarner participate in this year's Home Run Derby at next month's MLB All-Star Game. Likely won't happen, but what the hell. Perhaps YouTube's MrHighlightVideos featuring Bum's career homers might help.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Thoughts with Orlando

source: Huffington Post
A few events over the weekend in my small part of the world:
  • Golden State Warriors won NBA Finals Game 4 over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-97. Today, the NBA suspend Warriors forward Draymond Green for his fourth flagrant foul. Golden State currently hold a 3-1 series lead over Cleveland.
  • San Francisco Giants take 2 of 3 games over arch rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Each of the 3 games were won by a 1 run margin.
  • Broadway smash "Hamilton" has won (not surprisingly) 11 Tony Awards. I don't follow musicals all that closely, but am among the many that have been taken in by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Phillipa Soo. 
In about an hour, I'll be off to shower and get ready for work tomorrow. There are 50 in Orlando that won't. It's times like these I'll pause to reflect. What we do and love shouldn't be taken for granted. Ever.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Ryan Vogelsong - Get Well Soon

source: ESPN
Ryan Vogelsong, hit by pitch, 5-23-16
On May 23, 2016, former San Francisco Giants/current Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was at bat against the Colorado Rockies. Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles had an 0-2 count on Vogelsong when a 92 MPH fast ball beaned Vogelsong in the face.

It has been almost 2 weeks since the accident. I refuse to look at the video. The still picture of his cheek from the ball's impact was more than enough for me to see. Doctors waited a few days for the swelling to go down so they could determine the extent of his facial factures before performing surgery on June 2.

To Nicole, Ryder and the rest of Vogey's family and friends, I wish Ryan a speedy recovery.

I'll close with Ryan's speech in the last home game of the 2015 season. Coincidentally (or eerily), against the Colorado Rockies. It was also his last game as a Giant.

For me, it was with the same feeling Vogey said about teammate Hunter Pence in the 2012 post-season. "It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it."

Since the injury, I've seen Vogey's 2015 closing speech at least 5 times. And cry every time.

"...I don't know where I'm gonna be at next year. Or what the front of my jersey's gonna say. But I do know one thing. I will always - always - be a Giant."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Klay's 11 Treys - Game 6, NBA Western Conference Final - Warriors vs. Thunder

source: Bleacher Report
The Unworthy One - Warriors owner Joe Lacob, Klay Thompson
Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference final takes place tomorrow, Memorial Day in Oakland, California.

Less than a week ago, the possibility to go to Game 7 seemed very unlikely. A scenario eerily similar to the 2012 San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Like the Warriors, the Giants were down 3 games to 1.

Warriors-Thunder Game 5 took place in Oakland, and the Warriors won, 120-111.

Game 6 returned to Oklahoma City. An away game and having been blown out 2 previous times, the Warriors would have to win, or end a record-breaking 73-9 season and go home.

Go home, yes. Eliminated, no.

Oklahoma City held the lead for most of Game 6.  The quieter Splash Brother sinks 11 3-point goals, his most important one, was to take the lead for good at 104 - 101 with 1:35 left in the game. He finished with 19 of his playoff high 41 in the 4th quarter.

This game is adding to the long library of unforgettable games in Warriors franchise history.

Here's a recap:

And, the link to view Bleacher Report columnist Kyle Newport's Joe Lacob video loop.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

More more more - renting in San Francisco

Home Sweet Home
An update to my March 27, 2016 blog posting on the exorbitant costs to rent in San Francisco.

When I last wrote, the rent I pay for a shared 2-bedroom, 2-bath house was about equal to the median rate for a 1-bedroom in San Francisco.

On June 1, 2016, that will no longer be the case.

Because the house I rent isn't eligible for rent control, my part of the rent goes up $225. So that my housemate and I don't get blindsided with additional rental raises, we signed another 1-year lease to lock in the rate.

Despite the 15% increase (San Francisco rent control is currently 1.9%), this Lakeside district house's rent is still much lower than the median rate for a 2-bedroom.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wardell Stephen Curry II - 2015-16 NBA MVP (Unanimous)

L: Steve Nash, R: Stephen Curry
It came as no surprise Stephen Curry was named for the second consecutive year as the National Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player. What was surprising was that Steph received all 131 first place votes. Unprecedented, as there is no other NBA MVP that won unanimously.

Timing of the MVP presentation couldn't have been better. Less than 24 hours earlier, Steph returned to action after missing 4 games due to a grade 1 MCL sprain during the first round playoff game versus the Houston Rockets. He would come off the bench for the first time in 4 years.

When Steph came into the game, his shooting was less than stellar, going for 0-for-9.  He missed a driving layup to win the game at the end of regulation. It was in overtime that proved beyond doubt why he's the NBA MVP.  Steph scored 17 points in overtime to lead the Warriors to a 132-125 win. It boggles the mind when you realize overtime is only 5 minutes.

Wanna see it again? With apologies to Paul Allen and Trail Blazer fans, here you go:

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day - 2016

Wishing all Moms, including Fur Baby Moms a great Mother's Day.

With the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Proctor & Gamble released their latest video featuring Mom as the inspiration to those athletes competing. They're very moving, and best of all, they're without P&G product placement or promotion.

Thanks to all Moms, Mums, Mommies and Mamas for all that you do.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

PBA League - 1st Team Perfect Game - Dallas Strikers

source: PBA
2016 Dallas Strikers
Led by Manager/Player/Anchor Bowler Norm Duke, the PBA League's Dallas Strikers bowl the first Baker System Format perfect game.  Hover over "Recap on ESPN" and click the link to see all 12 strikes. The atmosphere at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine where all league games were held is like nothing other. Everyone is standing and cheering for all the bowlers.

Here is also Norm's 10th frame on YouTube:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

South Point Bowling Center and Stadium - Las Vegas

2016 USBC Women's Championship Scores
Due to my trip to Las Vegas last weekend for the USBC Women's Championships, I wasn't able to write a blog posting. Shown above are my scores from the site. As the tournament is ongoing until July, my rankings will lower once additional scores are posted.

Despite the wide range of scores (my highest and lowest games were the last 2 games I bowled), I was very pleased with my results. Total pins in 9 games was 1440, which put me at a 160 average per game. I finished 5 pins above my 2015-16 season average at 155.

Bowling at South Point was a phenomenal experience. They have 2 very large bowling venues: the center for open bowling, and the stadium, where I bowled. Up until South Point, my favorite place was the National Bowling Stadium in Reno. ESPN has televised many PBA tournaments from South Point's stadium, so knowing I've bowled where elite bowlers have is very cool.

It was also nice to see the same teams we paired with over the past 2 years in the hotel or on lanes not too far from where we bowled.

Because of distance, travel logistics and budget constraints, I will be skipping 2017 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I plan on returning in 2018, when the tournament comes back to Reno.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Laptop and Tablet

source: Lenovo
Lenovo Yoga 11e
Last week both my 4+ year old laptops (Toshiba Portege and Sony Vaio) died. I spent hours deciding whether or not my replacement would be another laptop or get my first tablet. Must haves: portable, durable with a touchscreen and keyboard. Small and semi-indestructable for travel.

Touchscreen keyboards are OK, but I much prefer real ones. I type so much faster and accurately on them. It's one of the features I missed when I switched to an iPhone from a BlackBerry. I like touchscreens because I can touch the link I want immediately without using the arrow keys and touchpad. I want all these features - at a price below $500.

With those requirements, the sleek and very cool Apple iPad2 was immediately eliminated from consideration. Microsoft Surface was a strong contender, but the cost did not include a keyboard and was still way over my budget. To help me finalize my decision, I went to Best Buy after bowling practice for a test drive. For over an hour, I went back and forth between the tablet and laptop displays to determine what I liked best.

I decided to get the Lenovo Yoga 11e from Amazon. I upgraded to overnight shipping (thanks Amazon Prime) for only $4.99. Visually as a tablet, it's bland, thick and stodgy. Not exactly pretty in the laptop category either. However, total cost was $1200 less than the second Sony Vaio laptop I bought in 2006. After a few setting adjustments, I'm definitely using the touchscreen and keyboard in ways that work for me. It isn't perfect, but I can live with it.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Golden State Warriors Go Bowling

Not more than 30 minutes ago, the Golden State Warriors won their 69th game of the season. With 4 games remaining in the 2015-16 season, the Warriors would have to win 3 games to match the 72-10 record the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls achieved. One of the players on that team was Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

On a road trip in the 2014-15 season in February, 2015, the Warriors took a break and headed to Memory Lanes in Minneapolis, Minnesota for some bowling (see below video). A brief shot of Steve Kerr, David Lee and Steph Curry with some decent mechanics.